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Author Topic: Baking Steel and Fibrament Stone - Deck Oven Simulator?  (Read 323 times)

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Offline cup-o-pizza

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Baking Steel and Fibrament Stone - Deck Oven Simulator?
« on: September 20, 2017, 12:37:11 PM »
Hi there,

I just ordered a 3/8" thick steel sheet from a local sheet metal shop in an effort to reduce the bake times on my NY-style pies. I'm also hoping to get better oven spring, better browning on the undercarriage and a "fluffier" crumb with the steel. I realize that not all of these things can be achieved solely by using steel, but based on what I've read on this forum, I'm hoping the steel will help.

In any case, I've been baking my pies on a Fibrament stone for the past few years. What I'm wondering is whether I can simulate a deck oven by having the steel and the Fibrament positioned on racks such that the space between them is similar to the height of a deck oven. Obviously, this is not going to be a perfect deck oven simulation, but I'm hoping it will be a reasonable approximation for making NY-style pies at home. I'm guessing others have tried this before - care to share your results or suggestions?

Also, one of the reasons I'd like to try the configuration described above is because my gas-fired oven doesn't allow me to have the broiler on at the same time as the main gas heating element. So, I'm hoping that having the Fibrament stone sitting approximately 6"-7" above the steel will provide enough radiant heat to properly cook the top of the pie.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2017, 12:39:45 PM by cup-o-pizza »
Matt

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Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Baking Steel and Fibrament Stone - Deck Oven Simulator?
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2017, 01:06:56 PM »
You might want to darken the side of the Fibrament facing the pizza. Maybe rub it with oil and let it burn to black in the oven. The darker, the more IR emitted. I'm guessing that darked, it might be 50% more emissive than the whitish fibrament color.
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Offline cup-o-pizza

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Re: Baking Steel and Fibrament Stone - Deck Oven Simulator?
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2017, 01:24:11 PM »
Thanks, Craig. I'll definitely keep that in mind as I begin to experiment with this setup.
Matt

Navin R. Johnson: "Oh, this is the best pizza in a cup ever. This guy is unbelievable. He ran the old Cup 'o Pizza guy out of business."

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Baking Steel and Fibrament Stone - Deck Oven Simulator?
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2017, 01:46:39 PM »
Matt,

Tony Gemignani has often recommended using a pair of stones or steels, and I see no reason why one might not experiment with one of each. Here are some posts on the subject:

Reply 223 at https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=34845.msg357936;topicseen#msg357936,

Reply 228 at https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=34845.msg358205;topicseen#msg358205, and

Reply 10 at https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=35902.msg357770;topicseen#msg357770.

Peter

Offline cup-o-pizza

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Re: Baking Steel and Fibrament Stone - Deck Oven Simulator?
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2017, 02:36:17 PM »
Thanks, Pete-zza. This is great info.
Matt

Navin R. Johnson: "Oh, this is the best pizza in a cup ever. This guy is unbelievable. He ran the old Cup 'o Pizza guy out of business."

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Online Pete-zza

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Re: Baking Steel and Fibrament Stone - Deck Oven Simulator?
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2017, 04:58:26 PM »
Matt,

I had intended to add another thread to my last post but I first had to find it. It is this one:

https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=37996.msg380222#msg380222.

Maybe there is a tidbit here and there that may help you with what you are planning to do.

Peter

Offline cup-o-pizza

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Re: Baking Steel and Fibrament Stone - Deck Oven Simulator?
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2017, 09:35:31 AM »
That was a great read, Pete-zza - thanks! I just got a call from the metal shop to let me know my steel is ready. Going to fire it up tomorrow!
Matt

Navin R. Johnson: "Oh, this is the best pizza in a cup ever. This guy is unbelievable. He ran the old Cup 'o Pizza guy out of business."

Offline cup-o-pizza

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Re: Baking Steel and Fibrament Stone - Deck Oven Simulator?
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2017, 08:21:00 PM »
Picked up my steel today! It's a 3/8" thick 20" x 17" sheet, and I'm using 1.5" square tube to elevate it above the lip of my oven rack. The metal shop I got the sheet from isn't very far from where I work. So, I brought it to work and used the flap wheel on my angle grinder to soften the edges and remove the mill scale. Then, when I got home, I used my electric sander and 120 grit sand paper to further polish the steel and remove any remaining machine oils, residue, etc. I then used some mineral spirit to "clean" the sheet before adding a light coat of peanut oil. The sheet is presently seasoning in my oven at 550F. Going to make dough now for tomorrow night. Wish me luck!

edit: Apologies for the lighting in these photos. I have crap lighting in my kitchen.  :-\
« Last Edit: September 21, 2017, 08:24:09 PM by cup-o-pizza »
Matt

Navin R. Johnson: "Oh, this is the best pizza in a cup ever. This guy is unbelievable. He ran the old Cup 'o Pizza guy out of business."

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Baking Steel and Fibrament Stone - Deck Oven Simulator?
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2017, 08:26:49 PM »
Matt,

No need to apologize, your photos are fine.

We look forward to your results. Good luck.

Peter

Offline cup-o-pizza

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Re: Baking Steel and Fibrament Stone - Deck Oven Simulator?
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2017, 09:24:52 PM »
Made my first pies on the new steel tonight. Things went well, for the most part. I had the steel positioned in the upper 1/3 of my oven, and I preheated it for an hour at 550F with convection. Then, I turned the broiler on for 15 minutes. When I was ready to launch, I turned the oven back on at 550F (no convection). My IR thermometer read around 560F on the steel at launch.

For the first pizza (cheese only), I didn't use the broiler at all during the bake. And while the bottom crust was nice, I didn't get as much browning as I had hoped I would on the top. For the second pizza (pepperoni), I turned the broiler on about halfway through the bake, and I got better browning. I also left the pizza on the steel a bit longer for this bake (around 6-7 minutes total).

I noticed a few key improvements with these bakes over previous experiences with my Fibrament stone. First, I got a different (and better) chew with the steel than I was able to get from the Fibrament. The chew this time around was softer and less tough than with previous bakes. I will say, however, that this observation comes with a big grain of salt given that this was also the first time I've used All Trumps B/B flour, which also could have contributed to the more favorable chew. In addition to the chew, I got a better bottom crust texture. There was a layer of crispiness, but it didn't seem to affect the fluffy chew of the inner crumb. Also, while the bottom crust was crisp, it wasn't so rigid that I couldn't fold the slices without the bottom crust cracking. As the slices cooled down, the bottom crust did become more rigid, but not like previous bakes.

I've got some playing around to do with figuring out how to get consistent and better browning on the top of my pizzas, but I'm really encouraged by the steel so far! Here are some photos of tonight's pies.

Matt

Navin R. Johnson: "Oh, this is the best pizza in a cup ever. This guy is unbelievable. He ran the old Cup 'o Pizza guy out of business."

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